So I guess it's still possible for me to have a winning week in this column. I was starting to wonder after a couple of 1-1-1 weeks if I was destined to push and pay the vig for the rest of my life.
But thanks to a ridiculous comeback by the Detroit Lions that could not have happened without the Chicago Bears' total ineptitude, I can consider myself a winner. Hopefully, this week I can keep that going and maybe even post a 3-0 week. Stranger things have happened!
Falcons at Chargers
Fading Anthony Lynn and the Chargers worked well last week, but I'm not as comfortable doing so with the Falcons as road favorites in this spot. Don't get me wrong, I think the Falcons will cover this spread, but betting on their team total is a safer play. The Chargers have allowed at least 27 points in nine straight games. They've allowed at least 21 points in every game this season but one, and that one was the season-opener against Cincinnati in Joe Burrow's first NFL start (without a preseason). This is an awful defense we're dealing with here. When you combine that awful defense with some of the worst special teams coverage units in the league, you get a team that bleeds points to opponents. So instead of worrying about the spread or total, I'm going to rely on the Falcons scoring points.
Projected score: Falcons 28, Chargers 24
Best bet: Falcons Over 25.5 (-110)
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Saints at Eagles
So the Eagles are going from Carson Wentz to Jalen Hurts, and while Wentz has been awful and deserves to be benched, it's not like he's been the Eagles' only problem. This is just a bad Philadelphia team we're dealing with, and one with a lot of injuries. Jalen Hurts isn't going to come in and fix anything on his own. We're talking about a rookie who made a few nice plays against Green Bay, but he still finished with only five completions in 12 pass attempts while playing in mostly garbage-time conditions. Now he's being asked to make his first career start against one of the NFL's best defenses (the Saints rank second in defensive DVOA). Also, did you know that over the last two seasons, the Saints are 8-0 both straight up and against the spread without Drew Brees? You do now! Also, NFC East teams are only 12-18 ATS outside the division this season.
Projected score: Saints 27, Eagles 14
Best bet: Saints -7 (-105)
Steelers at Bills
The Steelers blew it against Washington on Monday. They had a 14-3 lead at halftime and should've been able to hold on and remain undefeated, but they didn't. They looked like a tired team in the second half, and for good reason: it was their second game in five days and third in 15. Well, this game will be their third game in 12 days. That's not easy for anybody to deal with, let alone a Steelers team dealing with injuries. That cancels out the fact the Bills are playing on a short week here. Plus, while the Bills have struggled defensively to stop the run this year, that doesn't worry me, considering the Steelers don't even run the ball anymore.
Projected score: Bills 24, Steelers 20
Best bet: Bills -2.5 (-115)